Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Miller won't allow soft goal to affect him

Goalie shakes off tough goal; Blues confident moving forward with 2-1 series lead

CHICAGO -- Ryan Miller took responsibility for the goal given up Monday night to Jonathan Toews that gave the Chicago Blackhawks a 1-0 lead.

It came slow enough that if it were a baseball game, one would assume Miller was eyeing down an Eephus pitch.

The 24-foot flubber that seemed to take a slight bounce before somehow squirting through Miller's pads gave Chicago a 1-0 lead in a game the Blackhawks desperately needed.
(St. Louis Blues photo)
Ryan Miller (39) was able to keep pucks out of the Blues goal after giving
up one early in Game 3 on Monday night. 

The Blues led the Western Conference First Round best-of-7 series 2-0, and a victory in Game 3 on Monday night would have given them a stranglehold on the series.

But Miller was able to rebound, get composed and come up with some crucial stops that kept the Blues within one shot of tying the game. 

"After that, I felt I competed and battled," Miller said. "There's going to moments in a series when you're not going to have things go your way. You've got to just continue to move forward, keep battling. I'll take that approach.

"It gives them something to go off of, but I thought we did a good job after (the goal). We were playing good hockey (Monday), they were able to survive and (Corey) Crawford played well."

Crawford stopped all 34 Blues shots, and many of them were high quality.

"We had a good game, a lot of chances, but both goalies played well," Blues left wing Jaden Schwartz said. "We've got to find a way to outwork the goalie.

"We had a few bounces right there around the net. (Crawford) made a couple big saves on tips. Pucks were bouncing here and there. We had our chances there in the third period. We had a really good push. For whatever reason, it wouldn't go in. We couldn't get the second chances there."

Defenseman Alex Pietrangelo agreed.

"The quality was there. (Crawford) played really well," he said. "We have to find ways of getting those tips in the back of the net. I think we had a few open nets, too, that we missed by just a couple of inches. If those go in the game changes.

"In the second half (of the game), I thought we got a lot better. I thought we carried the tempo a lot more in the second half. They came out with a little fire there in the first. If we play the way we did there in the second half, we’re going to be just fine."

Pushing and pushing for that tying goal, each challenge was turned away. Like a pack of bees, the Blues kept coming. 

This has how this very difficult series has abounded. 

"You have to settle in (to the belief) not everything's going to go your way, but you still have to believe you can get the job done," Miller said. "It's our first chance to bounce back. 

"We got a few good punches in on them, they got one back. Let's see if we can stay on our feet, stay in the fight. We've got to respond the best we can next game."
(St. Louis Blues photo)
The Blues and Jaden Schwartz (9) couldn't solve Michal Handzus (26) and
the Blackhawks Monday night. The Blues remain confident.

Miller included.

"Just keep doing what I was doing," he said. "The second and third period, I was competing and battling. It wasn't a fantastic (first) goal, but you move on."

Playing a complete game without their captain, David Backes, in the lineup modes well if (and when) he returns.

Blues coach Ken Hitchcock, who said it was one of the best road games he's seen, is eager to see if the Blues can build off Game 3, despite losing it.

"If we continue to play at this pace and at this level, we're hoping that that's good enough to win the next game," he said. "We get another day and a half off or so. We're going to have more energy to do the things we need to do."

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